The Elastic Heart Series

I always say to Glory Edozien, “You are the love mistress. Love is your territory. You love, love.” It is true; Glory IS the love queen. She has this glow when she talks about matters of the heart. Me? Not quite. I don’t care. My love is my writing. My heart? Chained away, padlocked and frozen.

So, when I found myself in a Situationship, I struggled with confronting the realisation that this is what was actually going on.

Wait, you don’t know what a Situationship is? Where were you when Isio Wanogho and Uru Eke were talking about it on BellaNaija? Tsk, Tsk! Okay, I’ll help you out:

Aidanneal.com properly captures it:
“A situationship is basically a pseudo-relationship. A placebo masking itself as a formative relationship. It smells like a relationship, it sorta looks like a relationship, and it may even feel like one, but it’s not. Urban Dictionary describes a situationship as any problematic relationship characterised by one or more unresolved, interpersonal conflicts. usually confused with dating.”

All caught up now? Good!

A situationship is that halfway place between talking and being in a relationship. It’s sha a whole lot of rocking chair style techniques. (No, not sexual, you perv!) I mean, it gives you so much to do, but takes you NO WHERE!

You’re talking to this person but you don’t really want to ask that dreaded question because you don’t want to come across as an Eager Beaver. So you just let the absence of definition drag on and on and on! Till you find yourself broken hearted. Then you’re told “But we were not in a relationship, ke!”

Dearly beloved, I’m here to preach one word of Rhema to you today…It is very okay to ask that question. The Love Queen, Glory Edozien also confirms it. In any case, once you’re in your 30s, you have the carte blanche to do anything you want to. You know why?

Because you’re an ADULT!

So, since I’m such a tough talker and a know-it-all, why did I fall into this pit of despair and become a bumbling mess when I asked the “what do you want with me?” question and got the “friendship!” response?

I was still going to be a strong woman, okay? I wasn’t going to let a man use me emotionally and tell me he just wants to be friend. No! I stood in my room, with all the righteous indignation in the world.

“I am going to need to dial this back a whole lot! I can’t do the kind of friendship you want.” I beat my chest King Kong style and decided to cut the man off!

The Elastic Heart Series is the result of my decision. It chronicles my walk through the pain of trying to clutch myself back from my Situationship. It has been a long, arduous journey and I hope that nobody will ever tell you that it is easy.

Because, that sh*t hurts so bad.
My emotions Yo-Yo’d from happiness, to relief, to anger, and back to intense sadness. Days of tears soaking my pillow, and me trying to muffle my sobs because I didn’t want my roommate to think this strong girl had somehow crumbled. I feel a little better now, and I’ve decided to share my experience in a 5-part series. If you have never heard Elastic Heart by Sia, please get acquainted, because this song got me through this very difficult period. I may not be as strong as I thought I was, but now I realise that what I have is an Elastic Heart.

I hope you enjoy this series and I hope it helps somebody.

****

Okay, I don’t want to do cold turkey again.  Cold turkey is too hard. I miss you. It is ridiculous. I know. I know.

I know. I knowwwwww… stop telling me what I know. I know you don’t like me like that. I know. I knowww. I know this will end badly. I know you have said it honestly and truly… you cannot do anything more than this WhatsApp dependency. Okay, maybe I have mental issues. Maybe… maybe maybe I am just used to being used. Maybe I haven’t ever had to ask for more. Maybe that is why after just 4 days…. or is it 3? I’m crawling back to ask for crumbs from your table.
Maybe I just don’t think I deserve  better. After all, I’m used to the friend zone. Maybe that is why I am here typing this long missive.

Maybe it is not actually you you you gan gan that I miss. Maybe I just want to not feel so alone.

Maybe this isn’t even about you thinking I’m worth the effort or the attempt.

Maybe it is just me being a sucker for punishment.

Maybe I just like being rejected because it is all I know.

Why else would I be writing you? Why would a strong, talented, beautiful woman like me say to you… “it’s okay. Use me to fill a void.”?

Maybe I truly deserve to be miserable.
But I miss you.

This is ridiculous.

You should have just left me alone.
You should have just been popping up after reading one in six articles.
You shouldn’t have made me start watching TV with you.
You shouldn’t have made me laugh.
You shouldn’t have shown me you are kind, and honest, and thoughtful.
You should have just left me alone.

Now I am distraught and I don’t know how to do this cold turkey business again.

I miss you,  Dude.
I really really really do.

You did me wrong by not leaving me be.
Why did you not just leave me be if you knew I was too far away?

Now I’m getting angry. Anger feels much better than missing you.
Yes. Now I’m angry.  I love that I’m angry. It only means I won’t send you this message.

So tell me what you were going to happen with this girl so far away? Involve her in your life then dump her if she got too clingy? Or maybe slowly remove yourself when you met someone better suited to your needs locationwise?

How long was this friendship supposed to go on?
What kind of friendship was this to be? The one where we’re involved in each other’s daily activities? I don’t even know my closest and most intimate friends the way you were bringing me in. You can’t even deny that you were doing it. I was that shoulder, vacant and available.

How do you feel knowing that you were planning to wreck me? I’m not wrecked now, because I saw that sh*t coming and I had to pull the brakes.

Forget everything I wrote earlier.
I don’t miss you.
You tried to use me.

You f*cking tried to use me… and you’re supposed to be one of the good ones. You are supposed to be one of the decent ones.
Nah! How could I have, for a second, forgotten that you are a Nigerian man?

Shame on me.

But a bigger shame on you for not being a better person.

***
I miss you.

I’m probably not supposed to say this out loud, but I do… and I’m going to be a grown woman about all of this. I miss you. I really do.

I miss just knowing that you existed in the periphery of my life. I miss your stale memes and over saturated shared social media jokes. But that’s the funny thing about all of this… you’re the guy who sends stale jokes and still makes me laugh like I’m seeing them for the first time.

I miss the raw honesty of your views about life. I miss how you surprise me with sudden bursts of knowledge of pop-culture. And I miss the purity of your heart.

You’re a good guy.
A really good guy.

You’re decent and you have no scruples about being good.

And I miss that.

I don’t want to, but I do.

I’ve been here before. I’ve done this cold turkey thing before. It was hard, but I did it. If you ever read this, it means I failed.

The last time I went cold turkey, it was to save my life. It took a lot of help from my friends. K.B ensured I always had Amala from a particular bukka. A-R constantly ensured that I remembered I didn’t have to remain grateful that a man wanted me.

A combination of food and revalidation helped. I then went on to have a series of successes in my career; what started as a pain that would never go away, ended up being a faint distant memory.

I soared.

I didn’t remember him with pain. Instead, I looked back and I appreciated the experience.

Then, I closed that door, chained it, and threw the key away.

It particularly helped because I had grown into a place of loving myself so much that it didn’t even matter that one guy didn’t love me.

It is this over-estimated sense of self that has led me right back to this cold turkey zone.

I love myself too much to be a crutch for someone. What will I get in return? What is in it for me? I can’t do that? I have to look out for ME.

I say this over and over in my head.

Day 1 of Cold Turkey – I love me too much to be okay with being a crutch.

Day 2 of Cold Turkey – Does he want me to justify why I’m worth it? Nah, I can’t do that for any man.

Day 3 of Cold Turkey – I CAN’T DO IT! I’ll take whatever scraps fall from your table. TAKE ME BACK! Friendship, WhatsApp… anything beats this loneliness.

I don’t know whether tomorrow will be a better day. I hope it is.

I hope you never get to see this note, because if you do… it will mean I failed.

And I am not a failure.

***
I think the hardest part of Cold Turkey is waiting for that glorious morning when it will no longer hurt. I know this because I’ve walked down this path before.

It sucks.

I miss you.

I wish I could do more than write my feelings on my computer.
I want to talk to you.

This is so weird. Me, wanting to talk to you so badly.

Today, I realised that I’m not just emotionally exhausted, I’m physically exhausted too. Physically exhausted from trying to keep busy so I don’t think about you.

I also think that I miss you so much that it actually hurts. My chest burns from wondering if you’re fine.

Did he watch Dating Naked without me yesterday? I asked this question over and over till I realised it really wasn’t healthy to assume that I mattered so much.

But did you watch Dating Naked yesterday? Did you feel a teeny bit of regret that I wasn’t there to laugh with you?

Okay, so I know I said (in my other notes to you – which you will never see) Oh see now, I lost my train of thought.

Oya, I’ve found it. My thoughts are so disjointed and all over the place now. I’m working so hard to remain focused on one thing – to be compartmentalised like you.

Compartments.

Rigid walls.

Borders.

That State line that separates us.

I know I said I’m not going to ask you to walk me through the issues you have with distance. But I have to ask.

Wait.

I live an hour away. That’s not quite true sha, okay… 90 minutes away. Tops.

“My brain shuts down when I hear distance” – I can hear your voice ringing in my head.

Okay, wait, let me state the facts as I see them.

It is probably foolish to start a relationship with someone who lives in another city. I mean it’s difficult enough when you’re together and work takes you away. I mean it is SIMPLY foolish to enter a relationship with a woman in her mid 30s (you know those old girls… any small thing now they will start saying time is going! Going to where, only God knows)

So, I get it. You don’t want to do that.

Secondly, it is also foolish to get into a relationship with someone you don’t even really know like that. You know, the only things you know about me are things I’ve told you about myself or maybe you’ve deduced from our gazzilion conversations. Maybe I made the good things up. I am after all a great writer (‘brilliant’ is the word actually, but now is not the time for trumpet blowing.)

You’re cautious and methodical. You’re not rash and you’re not stupid. You also do not NEED me.

I don’t NEED you either, but I want you. No, not sexually. Sex isn’t everything. It is key, sha! 

I like that you make me laugh. I don’t lack that in my life, but your quiet, almost unassuming way of doing it is so glorious. I want that. I want it a lot.

I like that you’re geeky, and dorky, and unworldly (You think you are quite the man of the world. That bit is cute, too. I just look at you and laugh… see this one!! Ki lo mo?) You remind me a lot of me. Reticent outside, but such a surprising box of wahala on the inside. I like that I don’t have to pretend to have it all together when I’m talking to you.

So, tell me… what exactly about this distance is the issue? (asides the issues I’ve listed above – which are really BIG issues, if you ask me – but I’m still open to trying. You’re not. Why don’t you want to try?)

I’m not asking for too much. Am I?

You know, at first I went through this angry phase of righteous indignation of “How far is my city to yours gan sef? Alainikan shey ni Bobo yen!” Then, I refocused and thought, “Sisi, that’s selfish. If any travelling is going to be done, he’ll probably have to do a lot of it. He has to know this is what he wants. And if he doesn’t, it’s justifiable.”

So I’m not in a tizzy fit over it any more.

It still stings a little that you disenfranchised me because of my location sha… when I didn’t disenfranchise you for being a Nigerian, church-goer.

*sigh* Life is just not fair.

I do think we have something magical sha. And we’re getting it in our old age… so very little chance we’ll f*ck things up with unrealistic expectations.

Well, I won’t.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot, Mr. Man

***
If I come out of this alive, I am not going to talk to any man again. Yes, I’m being overly dramatic now. It’s allowed. I’m allowed to be petty, be silly, and to throw tantrums.

So, I will not talk to men any more.

No, I’m serious. Men are bad for me. They hurt me. All the time.

Actually, that’s stupid. That’s a stupid thing to write. Why did I write that? That’s a stupid wide-sweeping statement.

See, missing you is making me talk stupidly. I’m not stupid. I’m smart.

Yes, a smart, funny writer. Quite a catch, actually. Yes, trumpet blowing.

I am hardworking, talented, and smart.

Smartness recognised you in a crowd.

Smartness made me ask you what the hell you wanted with me.

But where was Smartness when I was hurt from not being able to tell you how my day was?  Look, I wanted to tell you about lady on the train who told me my hair was beautiful! She chuckled when I explained to her how I finally got the curl definition after several YouTube tries. She smiled and said; “Oh, the trick is to put the curling pudding when the hair is slightly damp? That’s smart!”

Yes, smartness!

Smartness isn’t here to console me because I’m sad from the knowledge that I have to watch last week’s episode of The Night Of without you.

I saw something funny yesterday and I was going to show you, then I remembered. “Not talking to that man!” So, I sent it to KB instead.

My dearest friend, KB!
See, I have good friends that are men. Men are not stupid. I take that back. I have loads of male friends.

See, this is why I don’t NEED another friend with a penis.

I have loads of friends, but I don’t watch Marco Polo real time with them. I don’t care that they cut their finger on a gate! I don’t worry that they may get shot on their way to work, because they live in racist America! Okay, wait, that bit is not true. I worry about all my friends in America… but that’s not the point.

The point is that I miss you. This is hard… harder than I thought it would be. I am not going to force you to give us a chance. I know that there can probably be no ‘us’ ever.

I am angry with myself for missing you, since I am sure I don’t want the half slice of unbuttered bread you’re offering.

Everything feels so difficult now; but it will get better.

I know this, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

I want to laugh at your dry jokes. Dammit!

But, I am smart. I deserve better. I will be fine.

Why isn’t the knowledge of this soothing me?

 How can someone who’s so brilliant as you are be so completely stupid about this? Us? Our vibe?

So, so, so, so stupid!

All men are not stupid. You are currently being stupid!

***
I should be asleep, but I’m lying here thinking about you. This is stupid. I am being stupid.  Even writing this now feels stupid. The fact that my vocabulary seems to be limited to just one word, in all of this, seems equally stupid. All of it is stupid.

You.
Me.
You.
You.
You.

Yes, you should take all the awards for being stupid. All….

But the summation of all your stupidity is still not as much as the knowledge that I’m basking in the glow of the memory of knowing you were there.

I want to step out of this bubble for a few minutes and call you, chat with you… then come back to being angry at you.

I want to know that you’re fine.
I want to know that nobody is giving you anxiety issues.
I want to know that you’re in a happy place.

And when I know, I want to be mad at you for doing so well without me.

Elastic Heart by Sia

Photo Credit: Charity Adetiba-Howard

By |2016-11-02T18:48:29+00:00September 7th, 2016|Creative Non-Fiction|2 Comments

About the Author:

Atoke can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing via the contact page.

2 Comments

  1. Nonso 26th September 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Brilliant 😊

  2. Vee 9th June 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Beautiful!

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